Recently I asked Ste Owen of LOVE if I could speak to him about his experiences within the creative industry from graduation to now, and as luck had it he said yes. The questions that I asked evolved around his own personal experiences and any advice he may have for those of us (like me) who are just starting to tread water in the world of design.
Be interesting, quirky and reliable. It’s not all about making tea and coffee. You need to make yourself indispensable and so you will be missed
K – When did you first realize that design was what you wanted to do for a living, and did you ever imagine that you would where you are today?
S – It was at high school, because my cousin was a designer and I got a placement there over the summer I was lucky enough to know what I wanted to do and already know about Design. Whereas everyone else at school was still unsure. All my friends went to Aquinas College, and I went to Stockport College for the course as I knew it was what I wanted to do and that was the only place it was available.
No, I thought big agencies like LOVE were for people higher up. I didn’t think that they would want to take on younger people. Didn’t think it was possible to got straight to LOVE from college and start out at a place like this. But I was completely wrong to think that as places like LOVE and other big agencies always want younger minds around to keep the work fresh.
K – Looking at your own personal work there appears to be a varied range of disciplines used, are there any areas of design that you find more interesting or inspirational than others and why?
S – Advertising. I’m a big ideas person, and that’s what I love creating. Hence why I like working at LOVE, that’s what we do and more. Seeing a piece of work from idea to creation.
K –When developing new ideas, how do you go about it and where do you turn to for inspiration?
S – It is all brief dependant and brief driven, where the influences and inspiration vary depending on the content of the brief. If I was doing a brief involving cheese, that’s where I would start my research.
In terms of how I go about it, I’m a big believer in scribbling down ideas. In fact you will often find me creating a lot of scamps and jotting jotting things down, at the start of a project and during it. Hence why we have room like this meeting room to get together with all of our ideas and put them up on the wall. Good process that needs to be used more.
K – Are there any sites/people you find are extremely influential to you or even that you just like and would want to share with people?
S – Everything around me. I look at a wide range of different things, not just design related but that interest me, like football. Everything you look at influences your work in the end. If you were to just look at one colour, or be surrounded by it, it would no doubt end up either in your work on influencing it in some way. Whereas if you’re surrounded by lots of different colours you would have different things you can bring to the table. Read and look at everything.
K –Looking back on your own experiences would you say that working in a studio/agency environment provides you with a lot more experience and knowledge than freelancing or working on your own?
S – I think it varies depending on the person. Personally I prefer to work around people and be able to talk to and and banter with. It’s in college where you decide how you prefer working. I always knew I wanted to work in a big company and so I always approached them. It all comes down to experience.
K – From education to live briefs and deadlines in the working environment, time management changes drastically. How did you adjust from one to the other and do you have any advice for successful time management?
S – Big Shock. You might have 6 weeks in college for an FMP, whereas here you may have a week for a big brief. The turn around is quick because people want ideas now. You have to be prepared and try to get used to managing your time by prioritising. Every new brief I get I scrutinise it first and decide on what and when things need to be done.
K – Do you remember how you felt when first stepping out into the creative world, and do you have any advice for when graduation arrives?
S – I saw it as an ideal job and loved going into work, still do. It wears off a little bit as time goes on, but so would any job. Really I take it for granted because I still love this job.
You need to have the mindset from the start to always strive to do more. Everyone at LOVE works here because they love what they do and it shows in the work produced.
K – When it comes to internships and placement is there any advice you have for making the most out of the opportunity?
S – Be interesting, quirky and reliable. It’s not all about making tea and coffee. You need to make yourself indispensable and so you will be missed. You’re there to impress. Do it to learn it. If you are good enough, it could lead to more opportunities.
K – In terms of getting noticed and getting your work/opinions out into the world, how important do you feel an online presence is within the creative industry today for both those who are already successful and those who are just starting out?
S – Massive. It’s a good way to get a job/work and be seen. Make sure it is good, both the website and the work – and that it shows your work clearly. Easy and simple. It is an instant way to see the work you produce and you have to remember that it is being seen by a creative person and not an accountant.
K – Do you have any advice for those who don’t know which area/discipline they would like to work in?
S – Try everything, enjoy everything and every brief you get. You can see it in the work produced when you haven’t enjoyed the project.
You choose how to execute the brief even when the outcome is set, therefore can’t you didn’t want to do it that way. When it comes to your FMP it’s all decided by you.
You have to tell people what you’re going to be like.
K – Do you have any advice that you would give an undergraduate for being successful in the creative world?
S – Do what you like doing. Work where you want to work. Be confident in you do as it will show. Know what you are good at. When you enjoy it, you do it better.
All in all Ste left me with a lot to think about, and a new found drive to succede in what I love to do. The questions I asked were more related to my own worries and uncertainties of moving from university into the creative world, but I do hope that they may help a few more of you out there in understanding just what exactly is expected of us once we graduate (and even before then.)
I really appreciate Ste taking the time to meet me in person and answering these questions for me, it really will help me to further my own work and development.